Effects of Eczema on Children

Eczema can affect many aspects of your child’s life, from persistent and uncomfortable symptoms to emotional stress. As parents, we want to do all we can to help our children manage this difficult condition. Understanding how Eczema affects your child both physically and emotionally can help find solutions for your child’s specific challenges.

Here are the most common effects of Eczema on children:

Skin infection

Children with Eczema are vulnerable to bacterial or viral skin infections. It occurs due to breaks in the skin from repetitive scratching. Skin infection can worsen Eczema and often may require antibiotic or antiviral medications.

Physical activity restrictions 

With Eczema, a hot environment and excessive sweating may cause skin irritation and itchiness. So a child may feel restricted with physical activities such as outdoor sports and playing. However, keep in mind that your child's Eczema should not interfere with their regular activities.

Here are ways you can reduce your child’s Eczema flare-ups while doing physical activities:

  • Choose activities that will not lead to excessive sweating

  • Have your child wear loose-fitting cotton clothes

  • Select afternoon or evening outdoor playing

Disrupted sleep

The uncomfortable and painful symptoms of Eczema can lead to interrupted sleep, daytime sleepiness, irritability, and moodiness.

 The following may help prevent your child’s itching during bedtime:

  • Gloves or arm sleeves to block scratching

  • Soft cotton and loose-fitting nighttime wear

  • Silk sheets and a thin cotton blanket

  • Bathing and Moisturizing skin

Psychosocial issues 

A child with Eczema may struggle emotionally due to changes in skin appearance and activity restrictions. Some experience bullying which can lead to social isolation, a decrease in self-esteem, and self-confidence. Research reveals higher rates of depression and anxiety among children with Eczema. 

Managing Eczema is important; however, psychosocial issues that go along with it also need to be addressed. So if your child is experiencing mental health issues, consult a mental health specialist.

Food allergies

Food allergies do not cause Eczema. However, children with Eczema have a greater risk of developing food allergies. In addition, some foods may contain synthetic chemicals to preserve, color, and flavor food which may induce allergic reactions and worsen symptoms. It’s best to identify food causing flare-ups and avoid it. 

In making dietary changes, choosing organic food options may be helpful as organic food does not contain artificial food additives that may include allergic reactions and trigger Eczema. Consult your doctor for guidance in making changes to your child’s diet.

For related articles about Eczema, check out the following:


  1. Mayo Clinic. Atopic dermatitis (eczema). Mayo Clinic resource page. Available at: www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/atopic-dermatitis-eczema/symptoms-causes/syc-20353273. Accessed 28 June 2021.
  2. Ben-Joseph, E. Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis). KidsHealth from Nemours resource page. Available at: kidshealth.org/en/parents/eczema-atopic-dermatitis.html. Accessed 28 June 2021.
  3. Cleveland Clinic. Eczema. Cleveland Clinic resource page. Available at: my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9998-eczema. Accessed 28 June 2021.
  4. Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego. Eczema Physical and Emotional Effects. Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego resource page. Available at: www.rchsd.org/programs-services/dermatology/eczema-and-inflammatory-skin-disease-center/physical-and-emotional-effects/. Accessed 29 June 2021.
  5. Stanway A. Complications of atopic dermatitis. DermNet NZ resource page. Available at: www.dermnetnz.org/topics/complications-of-atopic-dermatitis/. Accessed 2 July 2021. 
  6. Stein S. How to Treat & Control Eczema Rashes in Children. Healthychildren.org resource page. Available at: www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/skin/Pages/How-to-Treat-and-Control-Eczema-Rashes-in-Children.aspx. Accessed 2 July 2021.   
  7. HealthLink British Columbia. Eczema and Food Allergy in Babies and Young Children. HealthLink BC resource page. Available at: www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthy-eating/eczema-allergy-baby-children. Accessed 2 July 2021. 
  8. Coman C. Eczema, Atopic Dermatitis and Allergies: What Is The Connection? National Eczema Association resource page. Available at: nationaleczema.org/atopic-dermatitis-and-allergies-connection/. Accessed 2 July  2021.
  9. National Eczema Association (NEA). Conditions Related to Eczema. NEA resource page. Available at: nationaleczema.org/eczema/related-conditions/. Accessed 2 July 2021. 
  10. SickKids staff. Eczema: School and activities. AboutKidsHealth resource page. Available at: www.aboutkidshealth.ca/Article. Accessed 2 July 2021. 
  11. The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne (RCH). Knowing your child’s eczema. RCH resource page. Available at: www.rch.org.au/uploadedFiles/Main/Content/derm/knowing-your-childs-eczema-booklet.pdf. Accessed 5 July 2021.
  12. National Eczema Association (NEA). Eczema's and Mental Health in Children. NEA resource page. Available at: nationaleczema.org/eczema/children/eczema-child-behavior/. Accessed 5 July 2021.  
  13. McDonald R. Students with Eczema Have Lowered Self-Esteem Due to Bullying. NEA resource page. Available at: nationaleczema.org/students-with-eczema-have-lowered-self-esteem-due-to-bullying/. Accessed 5 July 2021.
  14. Kummelling I, et al. Consumption of organic foods and risk of atopic disease during the first 2 years of life in the Netherlands. Br J Nutr 2008;99(3):598-605.
  15. Cleveland Clinic. Organic Foods. Cleveland Clinic resource page. Available at: my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/17668-organic-foods. Accessed 5 July 2021.
  16. Whelan C. How to Create an Eczema-Friendly Diet. Healthline resource page. Available at: www.healthline.com/health/skin-disorders/eczema-diet. Accessed 5 July 2021. 
  17. Valluzzi RL, et al. Allergy to food additives. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol 2019;19:256-262.
  18. Van Bever HP, et al. Food and food additives in severe atopic dermatitis. Allergy 1989;44:588-594.
  19. Ecoeurope. Organic Food Processing. Ecoeurope resource page. Available at: www.eu-organic-food.eu/en/products/organic-food-processing/about/. Accessed 10 Sep 2021.  



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